Strategic Use of Social Media for Social Profitability

Reach the right people with the right message – the right way!

Social media matters to not-for-profit organizations, where making connections is vital to success. Social Profitability relies on finding the right platforms to engage people and shine a light on your organization.

In this day and age, it’s almost expected that the not-for-profit sector will be on social media. Regardless of the cause or size of the organization, not having a profile puts you at a disadvantage. Your primary goal should be to create (and frequently update) profiles on major social media platforms for your organization. It is an invaluable tool to speak, grow and engage your audience.

Remember, this isn’t only about asking for donations online. You can turn supporters off if all you post is an endless stream of “asks” for donations. Show social media users who you are by painting a picture of recent activities and announcements. Engage your audience and they become stronger supporters – or zealots – for the cause.

With 59 percent of all adult Canadians on Facebook, 30 percent on LinkedIn, 25 percent who are using Twitter and 16 percent on Instagram, that’s a lot of impressions out there every day.

Close to six in ten adult internet users in Canada have a Facebook profile, with almost half accessing the platform more than once per day, according to a recent survey from Forum Research. Canadian users also accessed Instagram more times per week than they did Twitter, for instance.

Which platforms you chose and how you use them will depend on your target audience and your message. Gender and language have varying effects on usage depending on the social network.

Over half of online adults use multiple social media sites. Primarily, most not-for-profits choose to be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Facebook acts as ‘home base’ and remains the most popular site for those who only use one. It significantly overlaps with other platforms, as well.

Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages and research can provide some insight into which ones are the most appropriate for specific purposes.

People over age 50 are far more likely to be Facebook than Twitter users. It stands to reason that if your older supporters follow you on Facebook, it becomes your primary platform to publicize upcoming events, share information, tell ‘impact stories’ or recognize constituents’ achievements.

Younger adults are most likely to have a profile on social media. Instagram and Twitter are most popular for women 18-29 years old. Women dominate Pinterest: 42% of online women now use the platform, compared with 13% of online men. Google+ is growing in popularity among men ages 45-54.

LinkedIn, with its professional slant, is most likely to be used by those aged 45 to 54. Use it for recruiting personnel, asking for pro bono work, sharing information and starting discussions about topics related to your cause.

In all, social media is a two-way street that allows you to build your reputation and optimize your message and gives your supporters a place to post their stories, comments and updates. It’s all about engagement!

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